OLSHACS Holds Open House To Celebrate Native American Exhibit

By CATHERINE ELLERTON

Moapa Valley Progress

Members of the Moapa River Band of Paiute Dancers take a moment to check out the Native American Museum within the walls of the Old Logandale School. PHOTO BY CATHERINE ELLERTON/Moapa Valley Progress.

For over 50 years Beezy Tobiasson has collected Native American artifacts. She decided it was time to share this wealth of information with the public and established a Native American exhibit in the Old Logandale School. On Saturday, February 22, this unique museum was open to the public as an open house to start the 2014 OLSHACS Membership Drive.

The Moapa River Band of Paiute Dancers were in attendance to celebrate the occasion as well. They began their celebration with a flag ceremony enhanced by a beautiful song – the Flag Song – sung in Paiute by Sierra Reel.

These young dancers came to share the traditional dances such as the Fancy Shawl Dance, the Jingle Dress Dance, Crow Hop, Medicine Dance, Butterfly Dance and Warrior’s Dance. M.C. and teacher, Kerriebah Bedonie gave a brief accounting of the history of each dance. From the Medicine Dance which recounts the story of a young sick girl healed when carried around in a circle by dancer’s wearing the Jingle Dress; to imitating the crow in the Crow Hop; to the story of a young girl who in sorrow at her husband’s death hid herself in her shawl and when she emerged even more beautiful; and had a new beginning.

Bringing the dance program to the conclusion, Kerriebah Bedonie sang a beautiful song – “I Love You” – in her native Navajo language. This song was written by Noka Heavy Runner.

The dancers then invited members of the audience to join them in a Friendship or Circle Dance around the auditorium holding hands in friendship.

Delicious India Fry Bread was served and guests were able to obtain the recipe from master chef Geraldine Bow.

Thalia Dondero, the first woman County Commissioner in Clark County (which seat she held for 20 years) and Helen Mortenson, President of the Ice Age Park Foundation, came to celebrate the opening and lend support. These ladies have been active in the creation of many of the State Parks and are currently working on establishing a Dinosaur Research Center in the upper Las Vegas Wash. They hope to have it established as a National Park in the near future.

The Old Logandale School is currently used as a dance studio, for organization meetings, concerts and weddings. Currently the museum and Reference Library can be visited by appointment only. But Tobiasson said she hopes to establish an open museum for three hours a day through the help of volunteers. Those interested in volunteering at the museum can call Tobiasson at 398-7272.

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